The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has sought the collaboration of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) on the use of ICT infrastructure and digital platform for timely and lifesaving search and rescue operations in the country.
In his remarks when he received the NEMA director-general, Mustapha Ahmad, in his office yesterday, the NITDA director-general, Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi, said NEMA required the application of digital technology for efficient service delivery.
He explained that NITDA as government apex IT regulatory body is saddled with the mandate of developing and regulating the use of ICT in Nigeria and that it was equally within its purview to deploy its expertise on virtually all aspects of human and operational endeavors that required the application of digital technology which NEMA is not an exception.
He described NEMA’s operations as one that requires the application of modern technology, adding “to work effectively and efficiently you need ICT, technology can help you get insight and predict a disaster even before it happens”.
He said modern technology would in no small measure position agencies like NEMA to always be on their toes ahead of any emerging situation easily, quickly, and conveniently as well as provide useful information that would make the agency take proactive measures.
The DG assured his guests of NITDA’s unalloyed commitment to incorporating NEMA into its Digital Transformation Working Group (DTWG) to facilitate organizing capacity building for their personnel, to have a full grasp of the process, when, where and how to deploy and apply the technology appropriately.
He expressed confidence about NITDA’s readiness to key into providing technology guide on effective communication methods with NEMA’s zonal and state offices for quick, easy, and convenient information dissemination of locations of disaster.
On his part, the director-general of NEMA said the visit was to further intimate NITDA management on his agency’s statutory mandate and seek collaborative support between the agencies.
He said, NEMA’s Act empowers it to manage human and natural disasters as well as support Nigerians in distress and mitigate the impact of such calamities, thereby building the culture of resilience on Nigerians, adding the country is faced with wide ranging disasters such as insurgent activities ravaging the north east, communal conflicts, kidnappings and banditry, annual floods and most recently the COVID19 global pandemic.
The NEMA DG said resources at the agency’s disposal had been over stretched and could barely meet the various disaster challenges across the nation, pointing out that they resolved to seek collaborative ties with stakeholders which NITDA is critical to the realisation of mitigating disaster risk management being the country’s apex IT regulator.
One of the areas that requires NITDA’s intervention is to assist in making NEMA’s zonal territorial and operational offices more effective – to have real time and sudden onset disaster communication, video conferencing, collection of damage and loss assessment data to enable timely lifes-saving search and rescue operations as well as deployment of humanitarian support in the right time.
On the economic downtown occasioned by the COVID 19 pandemic, the NEMA boss said it had become imperative for the agency to further explore and sustain cost saving methods in its operations.